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New Process for Recycling PET Packaging.


The bottled water industry faces a considerable restraint to consumer acceptance and increased scrutiny by environmental regulators by continuing to use bottles fabricated from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It is estimated that less than five percent of PET packaging is recycled allowing critics to claim that the material is an environmental hazard and is non-sustainable. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal published on December 13th only thirty percent of PET bottles sold in the U.S. are collected for recycling with less than one percent processed into food-grade plastic.

Loop Industries based in Montreal has developed a process to degrade PET into its base ingredients. These include dimethyl terephthalate and monoethylene glycol. Impurities are removed and the two base compounds can be recombined to produce new plastic packaging of high quality.

The Loop process uses a proprietary mixture that degrades PET to be accomplished without extreme heat and pressure as presently required. The process has been tested and accepted by Danone for their bottled water containers.

Loop is currently scaling up technology and will operate a production plant in 2020. The Company has also signed agreements with Pepsi and the E.U. franchisee for Coca-Cola. It is evident that if used plastic bottles, egg cartons and food containers have a value through recycling, collection will become a reality.

Bottlers of water are under pressure to recycle material. Despite a commitment in 2005 by Danone to recycle 50 percent of plastic in bottles by 2009, 13-years later only 14 percent of bottles are fabricated from recycled plastic. Nestle incorporates five percent recycled material in the E.U. and seven percent in the U.S. Similar figures are believed to apply to the Coca-Cola and Pepsi brands of water.